Bridgerton star Ruby Barker would one day love to write to the parents, who put her up for adoption as a baby, to let them know she ‘turned out alright’.
And she is one of a handful of highly talented young actors who have sprung to prominence during lockdown, as we’ve been glued to our screens.
Bridgerton star Ruby Barker would one day love to write to the parents, who put her up for adoption as a baby, to let them know she ‘turned out alright’
Ruby knows that she was born in Islington — and considers herself a Londoner, even though her adoptive mum and dad raised her in Glasgow. She also knows that her birth mother and father were from Ireland and Montserrat.
‘It’s one of those things that’s always at the back of my mind,’ she told me. Ruby is a nickname. Her first name is ‘a secret’, known only to those close to her, including her sister, who’s a year older.
She said she felt incredibly lucky — and thankful — that the two of them were adopted by the same family.
But there’s always been something holding her back from sitting down and actually composing that letter.
‘Sometimes life gets in the way but it’s something I want to do,’ she said. ‘I want them to know that I turned out alright, you know?’
For starters, she’d tell them about How To Stop A Recurring Dream, a film she made before Shonda Rimes and her team cast her in Bridgerton (which has become a global smash hit since its launch two months ago).
The 24-year-old plays Miss Marina Thompson, the spirited country cousin who arrives in Regency London concealing a scandalous secret in the Netflix series. She is pictured in the show with Luke Newton
And if they watched the picture (due out next month) I’m sure they’d be impressed with her ferociously raw portrait of Yakira: a rebellious 17-year-old who kidnaps her younger stepsister and shuts her in a car boot before driving off on what turns out to be a poignant pilgrimage.
The moment she read director Ed Morris’s screenplay she knew she had to play Yakira, who lives in an unhappy household with her father, stepmother and stepsister (a superb Lily-Rose Aslandogdu).
‘I know it sounds crazy, but it felt like it was something I would have done in my teenage years,’ she said.
Her Bridgerton character has a ‘rebellious streak’, too; which is why she believes she was cast.
‘Marina’s definitely got this edge,’ she noted.
Barker said when growing up, she was encouraged to be herself.
‘Well behaved women seldom make history, as my mother used to remind me,’ she said.
She described her adoptive mum as ‘quite a feisty lady’ who gave up being a beautician to train and then work as a solicitor. ‘Very motivated and independent, and those qualities rubbed off on me,’ she said, adding that her dad had been encouraging, too.
While making How To Stop A Recurring Dream she’d often discuss the role with director Morris. ‘I’ve been a 17-year-old mixed race girl, and a tearaway teenager, so I know how my character will act,’ she reasoned. When still living in Glasgow, her favourite thing was to sneak out of the house and meet up with her best friend in Kirkintilloch and ‘sit under the stars together and drink Mad Dog 20/20’. ‘Proper Scottish stuff,’ she said proudly.
Aged 15, she went to school in York. ‘That’s when I sorted out my priorities and started getting my head down.’
Strong A-level grades won her a place at the London School of Economics to study international relations — a subject close to her heart after she spent a summer in Tanzania, working on environmental conservation projects.
If they watched the picture (due out next month) I’m sure they’d be impressed with her ferociously raw portrait of Yakira: a rebellious 17-year-old who kidnaps her younger stepsister and shuts her in a car boot before driving off on what turns out to be a poignant pilgrimage
But still, she found herself drawn to drama and dance. (As a child she took Saturday morning classes at the Elizabeth Murray School of Dance in Glasgow. ‘That’s where I fell in love with performing.’)
Ruby was chatting from her home in Leeds, where she lives with her beloved black and white cat Mr Morse, who has been with her since she was two; outliving Columbo and Miss Marple.
‘He’s an old man with arthritis,’ she said of Morse, who eats his medication out of her hand and has heated blankets scattered around the place, plus tiny steps to help him onto her bed.
‘He can have whatever he wants. He’s my oldest friend, and the best lockdown companion anyone could ask for.’
Reluctantly turning her back on the London School of Economics, Barker got a job at the National Railway Museum in York. She became involved in community theatre and built up her CV.
And then came her first lead role, in How To Stop A Recurring Dream (out on digital streaming platforms on March 9). Followed by Bridgerton.
Marina doesn’t quite have the ‘happy ever after’ ending of Bridgerton’s heroine Daphne, played by Phoebe Dynevor. Nor does she enjoy any hanky-panky with Rege-Jean Page’s swaggering aristocrat Simon Basset.
She remained tight-lipped about whether she’ll be involved with Season Two, though I’d hazard a guess that she’ll be reuniting with the Bridgertons and the Featheringtons before long.
She told me she’s ‘living proof’ that a change is coming, in terms of roles being offered to non-white actors.
‘I never thought I was going to be in a period drama — unless I was playing the help,’ she said.
Source: Daily Mail |World News